Standon Talent Booker, Ami Lord on Inclusion & International Women’s Day
This Friday it’s International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is #BalanceForBetter. We sat down with Standon Calling’s lead talent booker Ami Lord about accelerating change with PRS’ Keychange, the importance of inclusion of women and her top picks from the line up this year.
How did you start out in the music industry?
I’ve always been interested in music, but going to Glastonbury when I was 16 got me really excited about live music and festivals in particular. I started my music career as a drummer, but quickly moved to doing things more behind the scenes. Working for indie promoters in London I’ve worked on a LOT of gigs over the years – good and bad! One of my favourite ever moments was being allowed to sneak in to see Dave Gilmour soundchecking at the Royal Albert Hall, and one of the lowest mopping up mystery liquid from a trashed dressing room floor (the band will remain nameless). I’ve also worked as a live reviewer, and I feel I’ve learned how to recognise what makes for a really great performance. When I started working at Standon four years ago, I asked if I could have a go at booking the Laundry Meadows stage, and bring some of my favourite up and coming bands to Standon. Now I’m booking the whole line up. It can be tricky at times – the Standon audience can be a discerning bunch, with eclectic taste, so it can be a balance trying to please everyone.
What are your views on the current landscape for women in music?
It’s rapidly improving for women who want to make it in music, but it’s not so long ago that it felt like a boys’ club. When I used to play drums, I was told that I’d only ever make it in a girl band, or that I should try and sell myself as a gimmick, rather than as a serious musician. (insert your own drummer joke here). It’s great that people are challenging those attitudes now, but it’s important to continue to make it more appealing and more accessible for women to work in music. It’s exciting that people are making music who wouldn’t have been able to a few years ago – they’ve got things to say that haven’t been said before.
Talk to us about Standon’s recent sign up to PRS’s Keychange 50/50 line up pledge
More than 50% of the Standon audience identify as female, so why wouldn’t we want to reflect that by who’s on stage? When I first booked Laundry Meadows, I made it 50/50 gender split, because there were so many amazing female acts that I was excited about, and I wanted to make a point that you can have a gender balanced line up without having to compromise on quality. One of Standon’s greatest strengths is that we create a welcoming, inclusive environment – you don’t need to know loads about music, or look or act a certain way to fit in. When Keychange was announced, it just seemed natural that we’d want to be a part of it; we’ve always booked great female artists on our lineup, and Keychange is another way to make sure not only do we consciously continue to do this in the future, but that we also lead by example and encourage other festivals to do so.
Who are your top picks from this year’s line up?
I’m so excited to have Wolf Alice as our Saturday headliners. Their thoughtful and distinctive songwriting may have deservedly won them the Mercury prize, but Ellie Rowsell is also a bona fide rock star, and it’s going to be an absolutely awesome show.
I saw Laurel on Jools Holland, and knew immediately I wanted to book her for Standon. She expertly mixes folk, indie, rock and blues to riveting effect. Her voice is stunning, and if you haven’t listened to her album Dogviolet already, I can’t recommend it enough.
The She Street Band
All female Bruce Springsteen cover band. They’re every bit as good as they sounds and more! They’ll be bossing the main stage on Sunday afternoon. Cannot wait.
Get ready for Katya and The Colonel to give you a late night performance you won’t forget in a hurry. This Russian, queer, electro-funk pop band will be bringing the after hours party to Laundry Meadows on Saturday night.
The Daniel Wakeford Experience
Daniel Wakeford is a singer songwriter with autism, and he’s been working to portray a much needed positive image of learning-disabled people in the media. A key success of the band is that it features professional musicians who also have experience of supporting learning disabled artists; Lizzy Carey (viola, keys, guitar and backing vocals), Sam Dook (electric guitar and backing vocals), Steve Tovell (drums and backing vocals) and Katie Windsor (bass guitar, backing vocals and manager). I went to their gig at Moth Club last year, and it was the most fun gig I’ve been to for years – very proud to have them on the bill!
Don’t miss out! Tier 4 tickets are on sale now for this almighty summer party.